Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases Rise As Universal Testing Continues In Onondaga County

May 21, 2020

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced a local Make A Wish effort to help feed the hungry in Central New York.
Credit Onondaga County Executive's Office / Youtube

A large number of new, positive COVID-19 cases in Onondaga County are from asymptomatic carriers. County Executive Ryan McMahon reported that 44% of cases this week were from people who exhibit no symptoms. 

“We need to continue to be very diligent, vigilant,” said McMahon. “We need to wash our hands. We need to protect ourselves when we’re out in public with people, wearing a mask. Certainly six feet away from each other. This is a reminder that the virus is still here, and it’s here in individuals that you wouldn’t think are sick.”

Due to the little information that is known about asymptomatic patients, McMahon said they are treated as though they can spread the virus like someone with symptoms. Contact tracing is also done in the same way. The rise in asymptomatic cases falls in line with the increase in testing across Onondaga County.


McMahon said as who they test changes, the way they analyze the data will, too. He said not to examine new case numbers, but infection rates. He also added that a single day spike is not an immediate cause for concern.

“One day or two days, that’s not enough to even be a trend,” said McMahon. “A week, five, seven, eight days then you see something, then you have to evaluate what you’re seeing. Does the data tell you a story why?”

Since the county expanded testing, McMahon reported the infection rate is about 6.4% compared to over 8% at the beginning of the pandemic. Universal testing will continue next week at the Syracuse Community Health Center. 


A Skaneatles high school student with cystic fibrosis is using his wish from the Make A Wish Foundation to help hungry students across Central New York. Make A Wish will work with the Central New York food bank to enhance their school break boxes, and they will be named in Caden’s honor. They plan to distribute over 2,100 boxes. Donations will be collected at the Embassy Suites by Destiny USA on May 30th between noon and 3 p.m. More information can be found on the Make A Wish Facebook page